Alleviating Urban Blight

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Alleviating Urban Blight
Mariah Beatty-Adams
Kent School of Social Work
University of Louisville

Urban Blight in Louisville
Louisville is known for internationally for the annual derby, that the upper-class and wealthy attend as a group for recreation, and entertainment. It is a time that economically, that the city is in its element. Millions of dollars are spent on derby paraphernalia, horse paraphernalia and alcohol for the masses. The city is becomes a city that never sleeps. Patrons of the derby are attracted to the large three malls, the hustle and vibrancy of the “hipster” mini- town of Bardstown Rd., and are seen at all the touristic options throughout town; especially those that are directly related to our city’s most prized possession, Muhammad Ali. Although patrons are excited to learn about Muhammad’s hometown, no one frequents past 9th street, an area that is infamously known for crime, and drugs. West Louisville is an area of the city that is known for not only crime that is birth from the area, but also falling victim to urban blight, similar to other urban and inner city areas of large cities nationally and globally. According to the US Census, out of more than 5000 properties in the five neighborhoods that make up West Louisville, 22.1% of the homes are vacant or abandoned. An area that used to thrive with African American businesses, and industrial powerhouses that were less than environmentally friendly, has fell victim to the counter- productive action of urban renewal. There are only a slew of fast food restaurants, and an even larger number of liquor stores; unfortunately leading to the area become a food desert. An area where residents cannot acquire the ideal nutrients that are set by the FDA that every person should digest to remain healthy and active. However minorities are often limited to processed package foods, due to their only being one grocery store in the area. The only businesses there are seen in the area are barbershops, beauty salons, payday loan businesses, and a handful of makeshift retail stores. Leaving several residents without means for an income, becoming even more impoverished. Out of the 61,251 people inhabiting West Louisville, on average 13.4% are unemployed. This doesn’t take account the several workers who are underemployed, struggling to make ends meet in an area that is not known for upward mobility. A change must be brought to the area that does not have a negative impact on the inhabitants, but a solution that will bring in a sense of promise and change the lives of the people who live in the constant fear that their local government has truly forgot about.

In the year of 1957, Louisville constituents voted on a $5 million urban renewal project. Urban renewal refers to the public efforts to bring life into the aging and decaying inner cities across that nation. The term was heavily used and introduced to cities following World War II. Unfortunately the path to urban renewal is too destroy what is deemed destructive. Several businesses and public housing homes were tore down leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves and business owners on the streets with their dreams in stride. Instead of working with already strong foundations and beautiful architecture, these pieces of history were demolished, destroying the sense of community with the debris caused by destruction. Thrown up in the place of these businesses and homes, were new pieces of architecture, still leaving the cause of West Louisville’s blight unharmed. Ethical Analysis and Ideologies of Current Solution

Urban renewal in Louisville embraces the private good over the well-being of the public. Similar to the theory presented in the analysis titled The Economics and Ethics of Private Property by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, where he goes even far as to describe in great detail the fallacies of the public good. Results of the destruction caused by urban renewal have shadows of the historical...
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